Score: Sabres - 0 | Ducks - 2
Shots: BUF - 25 | ANA - 23
Buffalo Sabres goals: None
Anaheim Ducks goals: Sonny Milano (8), Sam Carrick (5)
Minus 1: Missed opportunities
The Sabres outshot the Ducks in two out of three periods, including 15 in the third, so the chances were there for them most of the game. On top of that, Buffalo’s powerplay continues to be shaky, going 0/3 on the night, as they failed to convert on multiple chances from the slots and around the net. While it is promising to see all the offensive pressure the Sabres had on display against the Ducks, you’d like to see them finish on a few of those opportunities, especially against a backup goalie and a young team.
Plus 1: Kept it close
While this kind of game leaves a bad taste in your mouth from the idea of “what if”, there are a few positive takeaways from the loss. Luukkonen looked solid in net, only allowing two goals to go along with a handful of good saves throughout the game to keep the Sabres in it until late. Other than a few mishaps, the defense seemed to play better overall, with less turnovers and defensive zone time, while also jumping up into the rush more frequently. Offensive players like Skinner and Okposo continue to show great improvement over their season from last year, and don’t look as much like a liability anymore. And lastly, Tage Thompson continues to show why he may be turning into Buffalo’s premier player. Get a good look now while you can Sabres fans, before he too is traded.
Minus 1: Goal of the year?
A goal of that caliber would happen to the Sabres, wouldn’t it? Early in the second, Trevor Zegras flipped a puck over top of the net, which was quickly batted out of the air by Sonny Milano, stunning everyone from Sabres players, to fans, to even Zegras himself. Luukkonen had almost no chance to react, as the Sabres defenders stood in awe, watching the potential goal of the year take place right before their eyes. After seeing offensive talent like that take shape Tuesday night, it’s hard for Sabres fans to look at Anaheim’s rebuilt team and not think “why isn’t that us?”
It feels kind of ironic that after scoring 10 goals in the last three games, while also giving up 20, that when the Sabres finally hold an opponent to 2 goals or less, they can’t score at all. While Tuesday night in some ways felt more unlucky than bad, the Sabres losing streak still continues, now sitting at five games. While this team is still far more entertaining than previous years, they still end up with the same old outcome.
Next up: Buffalo continues its homestand as the Rangers come to town for a 7 PM matchup on Friday night.